Monday, April 23, 2018

Mini Cheesecakes with Cherries

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbsp sugar, 1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp butter, melted
2- 8 oz packages of cream cheese at room temp
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
21 oz cherry pie filling

1.  Place paper cupcake liners in muffin pan.
2.  In a bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, 2 Tbsp sugar and melted butter and divide mixture evenly between muffin cups.
3.  Using the bottom of a spice jar wrapped with a paper towel, press crust mixture firmly into the bottom of each muffin cup.
4.  In another bowl, beat the cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 eggs, and 1/2 tsp vanilla, and pour over crusts.
5.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-17 minutes.
6.  Allow to cool and then scoop out about 3 cherries to top each cheesecake.

Spicy Shrimp and Grits Casserole

Shrimp and grits is one of my favorite meals!  I make another shrimp and grits recipe that has spinach in it, but when I came across this recipe the fact that it was a casserole intrigued me.  I left out the jalapeƱo pepper because I'm not a huge fan of spicy dishes, and it was spicy enough without it.  I also substituted the gouda cheese with cheddar cheese.  You can make this ahead of time and pull it out of the refrigerator to cook when you're ready.

4 Tbsp butter
2 bunches of green onions, chopped (white and light green parts only)
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 10 oz cans diced tomatoes with green chiles, drained
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup quick cooking grits
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
24 0z large shrimp, cooked, deveined, peeled
2 large eggs, beaten
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray.
2.  Heat butter over medium heat and cook green onions and red bell pepper 4-5 minutes.
3.  Stir in garlic, diced tomatoes, and chicken broth and bring to a boil.
4.  Slowly stir in grits, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5-7 minutes.
5.  Remove from heat and stir in salt and pepper.
6.  Stir in shrimp, bacon, egg, and 1/2 cup cheese.
7.  Pour in baking dish and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.
8.  Bake 30-35 minutes, or until bubbly.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Peppermint Fudge Cake

Yes, this cake tastes as good as it looks!  Because I have a cooking business now, I wanted to find a special cake to have available for the holiday season.  When I saw this recipe on Pinterest I knew I had to try it.  I ended up making and selling about 10 in December, so it was a busy month!  Although it takes some time to make (I got it down to about 2 1/2 hours), it turns out beautiful and delicious.  I told everyone to keep it refrigerated until about 30 minutes prior to serving, per recommendations from original post, but I found that this made the cake taste dry and crumble when cutting.  The trick is to not over bake the cakes to dry them out, but not under bake them because they will crumble when inverting them out of the pan to layer them.  Also, because of the dark cake and white icing, it takes effort to not get cake crumbles mixed into the icing while smoothing the icing around.  Freezing the cake layers helps with this.  To crush the peppermint, I place unwrapped peppermints in a ziplock bag and hammer gently.  The fudge cake is so good I plan to use it for fudge cakes or cupcakes in the future.  The buttercream icing has peppermint extract for just the right amount of peppermint taste. And the chocolate ganache is easy, delicious, and impressive.

2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup dark cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate bar, broken in to pieces
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled

2 cups unsalted butter (yes, that's 2 sticks!)
1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
6 to 8 cups confectioner's sugar
crushed candy canes (about 12)

Chocolate Ganache:
4 oz semisweet chocolate bar, broken in to pieces
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp light corn syrup

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees,
2.  Grease 3 round pans with Crisco and dust with flour.
3.  Melt the unsweetened chocolate in bowl in microwave and allow to cool.
4.  In a large bowl, combine the flour, dark cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Stir with whisk.
5.  Beat the butter and sugar on slow-med speed until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
6.  Beat in the vanilla.
7.  Beat in the melted chocolate.
8.  Beat in half of the flour mixture.
9.  Beat in the buttermilk and coffee.
10.  Beat in the rest of the flour mixture.
11.  Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
12.  Remove pans from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
13.  Invert one cake onto serving surface and place in freezer for 10 minutes.
14.  For the icing, beat the butter and peppermint extract in bowl until creamy.
15.  Beat in the confectioner's sugar 1 cup at a time for 5 minutes.  You must beat the whole 5 minutes for desired consistency.
16.  Remove bottom cake layer from freezer and spread icing over the top of it.
17.  Invert the second cake on top of first layer of icing and place in freezer for 10 minutes.
18.  After 10 minutes, remove unfinished cake from freezer and spread a layer of icing on top of the second layer of cake.
19.  Invert the third layer of cake on top of the second layer of icing and place in freezer for 10 minutes.
20.  After 10 minutes, remove unfinished cake and spread icing on top and sides until smooth.
21.  Press crushed candy canes halfway up all around the cake.
22.  Clean off excess icing and candy canes on serving dish.  (I use a wet paper towels for this.)
23.  For Ganache, melt semisweet chocolate, butter, and light corn syrup in microwave and allow to cool some where it's not hot, but still runny.
24.  Using a spoon, scoop chocolate mixture all over top of cake and allow to drizzle down sides.

I like mine best heated in the microwave.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Christmas M and M Cookies

Growing up, my Aunt Cheryl always brought M and M cookies to our family Christmas gathering.  I found this recipe on Pinterest and have to give credit to Cooking Classy.

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp cornstarch
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks, salted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla
11 oz bag red and green M and M's

1.  Whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
2.  In a separate bowl, mix both sugars and butter with a blender for 3-4 minutes.
3.  Mix in egg and egg yolk.  Stir in vanilla.
4.  Mix in dry mixture slowly.
5.  Mix in M and M's just until combined.
6. Transfer 2 Tbsp scoops of dough to parchment lined baking sheet.  I use a melon baller for this.
7.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

I use a melon baller for this.

You can refrigerate dough for 3-5 days.

Ritzy Chicken

This recipe comes from my father's mother, Grandmother Pat.  She is 84 now and I recently asked her for some recipes I remember her making when I was a kid.  She said she threw them all away! :(  I'm so glad my mom had this one written down.  I've been making it since I got married 12 years ago and my family loves it!  It's similar to Poppy Seed Chicken, but better.

4-5 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz sour cream
1 small can water chestnuts, chopped into small pieces
1 stack Ritz crackers
1/4 cup butter

1.  Mix soups, water chestnuts, sour cream, and chicken together and place in 9x13 casserole dish.
2.  Spread crushed Ritz over top, and pour melted butter over dish.
3.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until bubbly.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Spiced Apple Bundt Cake

Just in time for fall, this spiced apple bundt cake does not disappoint!  Have you ever tried a new recipe that required several steps only to taste it later and be frustrated you wasted the time making it?  That was not the case with this cake.  The recipe comes from my Better Homes and Gardens October 2017 issue.  They called it Double-Apple Mini Bundt Cakes, but I changed the recipe a little and baked it in a regular size bundt pan, so I changed the name.

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
10 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup spiced apple butter
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and grated
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup raisins
2/3 cup powdered sugar
4 tsp lemon juice

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Place raisins in a bowl and cover with hot water for 5 minutes to make them plump.
3.  Grease bundt pan with Crisco and flour.
4.  In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and ginger.
5.  In another bowl, beat butter and sugar on medium speed for 3 minutes, scraping sides as needed.
6.  Add eggs, one at a time.  Mix in apple butter at low speed. Add grated apples and mix.
7.  Add flour mixture to wet mixture.  Fold in nuts and raisins.
8.  Pour batter into prepared bundt pan.
9.  Bake 50-55 minutes.
10.  Let cool for 15 minutes then transfer cake to platter.
11.  Mix powdered sugar and lemon juice and drizzle over cake.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Korean Beef with Quinoa

2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 Tbsp oil
6 cloves garlic
2 lb beef
4 green onions
2 cups dry quinoa

1.  In a small bowl mix brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and ground ginger.
2.  Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat and cook garlic for 1-2 minutes.
3.  Add beef to skillet and cook until brown.  Drain fat.
4.  Stir in soy sauce mixture and green onions and simmer for 2 minutes.
5.  Cook quinoa according to package directions and serve with beef.